International Travel

Mon, 27 Aug, 2018Basmah Qazi

“It’s time for them to go": The travel ritual you'll no longer have to do

“It’s time for them to go": The travel ritual you'll no longer have to do

Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to check in for your flight and being hit with the passenger departure card. While you stand there and dream of some alternative universe where you’re able to breeze through security and maybe fit some duty-free shopping into your schedule, the idea of wasting your time filling in departure cards crush those in an instant.

First, you must find a location to fill them out, and then you need to rummage around for a pen. Also, looking for your passport and boarding pass because who remembers their flight number?

While Australia got rid of the unnecessary form last year, New Zealand was firm on their decision to keep them around – until now. On Sunday, New Zealand confirmed that they would be phasing out departure cards and they will become completely obsolete by November.

“This will improve the experience of all travellers departing New Zealand, enabling a faster and smoother process ahead of the busy holiday period,” said New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

“It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year.”

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern hinted at the notion of getting rid of departure cards when she spoke at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney in March.

Representatives came to the agreement that the forms, which are close to 97 years old, are unnecessary and made travel through the trans-Tasman more difficult than it should be.

Lees-Galloway said that the move will allow New Zealand to be more in line with other countries who had already gotten rid of the departure cards.

And once they become obsolete sometime in November, outgoing travellers will be able to travel between Australia and New Zealand seamlessly, as they won’t have to fill out a card on either side.

Lees-Galloway says that the biggest advantage for passengers is that it would save them more time.

“It removes inconvenience which isn’t necessary anymore,” he said. “It’s time for them to go.”

The cards, which were mainly used for statistical purposes will switch to a new system to gather data according to stuff.co.nz.

But while departure cards are getting the boot, arrival cards will remain as they are crucial for assessing immigration and security risks.

Do you think phasing out departure cards is a good idea? Let us know in the comments.

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